September 25, 2007

Columbia ROTC

Ralph Peters in the New York Post on the benefits of Reserve Officer Training Corps programs for the students. This reminds me of the short-sightedness of the Lefties who run America's colleges and universities. The leftists who pat themselves on the back for running off ROTC programs, or keeping them from returning, have no idea of the reason why such programs were created in the first place.

The Founding Fathers were distrustful of large standing armies because of the very real threat of military coups posed by armies in Europe. Congress recognized the need for professional military officers and created the United States Military Academy in the early part of the nineteenth century to ensure the tiny army of the day would have leaders with the necessary training in the art of war, especially in engineering, artillery, and the construction of fortifications. However, Congress later set up the land grant colleges in part to produce officers for the militia. ROTC was later created to meet the need for more officers by training cadets in civilian colleges, rather than relying on West Point and officer candidate programs which then commissioned only soldiers already in uniform. In doing so, Congress ensured the officer corps is composed largely of graduates of civilian liberal arts programs. ROTC graduates comprise almost sixty percent of the officer corps compared to seventeen percent for West Point and nine percent for OCS.

ROTC is not the presence of the Army on campus so much as it is the presence of the university in the Army in the words of of one of the generals who oversaw ROTC in the early Eighties. The question for college faculties should be--what sort of college graduates do you want as Army officers? Why not the graduates of Columbia, Harvard, and Yale? Parents, students, and alumni certainly expect these schools have quality liberal arts program, exactly the sort of training tomorrow's military leaders will need to succeed.

Posted by LMC at September 25, 2007 07:18 AM | TrackBack

We may not be Harvard, Yale or Columbia, and we may be in ::shudder:: flyover country, but Marquette is a quality, private, liberal arts university with a thriving ROTC - Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Send the kids here - we'll take them!

Posted by: diane at September 25, 2007 07:37 AM

Well put! In fact, why aren't more Yale, Harvard, Columbia grads serving as officers in the armed forces? Wasn't there a time when this was quite normal, that is, Ivy League types serving in uniform?

Posted by: Chris at September 25, 2007 08:33 AM

I seem to recall that Thomas Jefferson insisted that the military academies were "free" to prevent the upper class from buying a commission. In short, open competition assures qualified officers from all levels of society. Fast forward 200+ years and you see the intelligensia of our nation eschewing military service.
I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would make of it.

Posted by: Babs at September 25, 2007 09:40 AM

My father was only able to go to college because of ROTC. He's brilliant and got accepted two high calibre universities. He went to UVa because they had ROTC and that led to a career in the US Navy. So many young people would miss out on the chance for college if not for ROTC.

Posted by: jen at September 25, 2007 10:40 AM

One of my classmates from Holy Cross, Barry Costello, was in Navy ROTC. He is now Admiral of the 3rd Fleet in San Diego. Not a bad combination. Jesuits and ROTC. Was hoping he might get back, Oct. 6th to see The CROSS defeat BROWN on their turf.

Posted by: In Hoc Signo Vinces at September 25, 2007 03:11 PM

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